Expressing concern over the continuing increase in retail prices of essential commodities, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Saturday said that the Manmohan Singh government's "neoliberal policies" had led to the high inflation.
Taking strong exception to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Independence Day speech in which he cited the rise in the international prices of food and oil as the reason for the price rise, the CPI-M politburo said: "The prime minister's comments on price rise and inflation in his Independence Day address add salt to the wounds."
The communists pointed out that the inflation rates in developing countries like China, South Korea, Brazil and Mexico have been lower than in India. "The government can ill afford to seek solace in the relatively higher inflation figures of some other developing countries."
In a statement issued by the politburo, the CPI-M pointed out that the wholesale price index has hit a 13-year high of 12.44 percent.
"The CPI-M expresses grave concern over this high inflation and the utter failure of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government to provide any relief. Compared to 2004, the retail price of wheat has gone up by over 60%, that of rice and pulses by nearly 50% and edible oil by over 40%. The higher procurement of wheat this year has had no impact on the wheat price in the open market."
The communists, who recently ended their four-year backing to the Congress-led UPA government, alleged that the government had failed to fulfil its crucial commitment made in the mutually agreed common agenda of governance for the coalition.
The party reiterated its demand for the restoration of the foodgrain allocation to the states, increase in food subsidy to ensure universalisation of the Public Distribution System, a ban on futures trading in essential commodities including sugar, and cut in the central excise duties in petrol and diesel to bring down fuel prices.
"Instead of adopting such measures to provide relief to the common people, the UPA government seems hell bent on pushing through the same neoliberal policies, which are responsible for the inflationary crisis being witnessed today," the statement said.